Encouraging their students to plant over 300 saplings a few years ago was the best decision a government school located 45km from Hyderabad ever made. Thanks to the initiative, their vegetable garden provided enough produce to last four months for the mid-day meal scheme last year.
The Upper Primary School in Karkapatla village in Siddipet is known for its lush green campus, and credits the transformation to its 45-year-old teacher, Rajabhai Prakash Rao.
Of the 300 saplings, 248 survived and are now growing well. The saplings planted by 60-odd students from 2015-2016 under Rajabhai’s guidance have now grown about 4-5 feet tall.
In an interview with The Hans India, Rajabhai said, “We will be reviving the vegetable garden again this year. The students enjoyed the fresh vegetables that included brinjal, ladies finger, beans, tomatoes and drumsticks that we consumed for lunch last year.”
The 40 pomegranate plants and 45 guava trees planted are still growing and are expected to bear fruits soon, to provide nutritious food to the students. Rajabhai looks at the tradition of plantation as their part in making the environment green.
In addition to regular plantation drives, he also takes the students for meditation classes.
Plant a Tree and Gift a Living is an attempt by The Better India along side NAATA Foundation to plant 5000 fruit trees in Aarey Milk Colony, Mumbai. Each of these saplings need an approximate amount of Rs 100 for their nourishment over the next 2-3 years, after which they will be sufficient to supplement the income of the community by adding an additional source of livelihood, while also restoring the green cover of the area.
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The village of Karkapatla has just 300 houses and the school strength is a mere 60. But it was the will of the students that helped in tending the saplings. Last year, the government sanctioned Rs 1,475 per month to water the plants, but before that the students were divided into groups to water the saplings and take care of the vegetable garden.The school management has now appointed a person to take care of it.
The school has been termed the ‘model’ school by several school leaders in the district. Rajabhai is hopeful that with the help of the sarpanch and the community leaders, the students will be able to plant many more trees in the one-acre campus.
Feature Image credit: The Hans India